Nexus 6 vs Galaxy S5 AH Main

Phone Comparisons: Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

October 23, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt


This a great comparison of the new Nexus 6 going up against Samsung’s latest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S5…if you don’t count their phablet, the Galaxy Note 4…which narrowly beat out the Nexus 6 because of the S-Pen and added functionality.  The Galaxy S5 is Samsung’s ‘bread and butter’ device and the one they expect to sell millions of, but it was met with rather mild trepidation by the critics that were demanding a metal frame or entire metal body and no QHD display and no 4GB of RAM.  Although, after the ‘dust settled,’ many fell in love with the device and most was forgiven. Now, the new and powerful Nexus 6 comes along to do battle – it was never a threat before to the Galaxy S series, but will it be this time around?

These two devices have very little in common – oh, the 2MP front-facing cameras (FFC) are the same and they both have the usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (Nexus 6 has 4.1) and NFC capability.  Both are available on all major U.S. networks and both cost about the same off-contract…but other than that, these two devices are different all around.

Please take a close look at the detailed specifications listed below and then we will take a close look at each individual device and discuss its pros and cons.  From there, we shall try to determine a clear winner in this comparison.


Nexus 6 vs Galaxy S5 Specs

Nexus 6

AH Nexus 6 Press Image 1.00The new Nexus 6 is definitely different from the Samsung Galaxy S5 – let’s start with the physical appearance…The Nexus 6 has a metal frame and real metal trim that connects the glass display to the dull-matte finished plastic back and curved shape to make it easy to hold in your hand. It is unmistakably the Moto X look stretched in every direction and filled with premium specifications.  It is quite a departure from the usual Nexus devices, but Google made a decision this year that their Nexus line would be spec’d out and able to compete with anybody’s flagship – but all of this comes with a higher cost to the Nexus consumer.

The 6-inch display is almost a full inch larger than the Galaxy S5’s – good or bad, depending on if you like large displays – but where it is undeniably better is that it jumps to a QHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with a 493 pixel-per-inch (PPI) density.  The Samsung Galaxy S5 stays with the Full HD this time around, although, because of its smaller size, still manages a very good 432 PPI.

The Nexus 6 uses the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7 GHz – the same one used in the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 – rather than the Snapdragon 801 found in the Galaxy S5.  The Nexus 6 also bumps up the RAM to 3GB over the 2GB found in the Galaxy S5.  The internal memory is also handled differently – the Nexus 6 offers a 32GB or 64GB model with no room for expansion, while the Galaxy S5 offers a 16GB and 32GB model, but adds the capability of adding up to 128GB of storage via a microSD card slot.

Now to the camera area, where normally we would make excuses for the Nexus 6, but not this year.  It looks like they finally included a good camera – 13MP with Auto-Focus, a Dual-LED Flash Ring (it encompasses the lens) and OIS.  Megapixels does not make a camera, and while the Galaxy S5 does have 16MP and is known to take nice pictures – Samsung still left out the OIS feature.  The 2MP FFC on the Nexus matches up to the same on the Galaxy S5 – certainly enough for a quick selfie and an occasional video chat.

As far as other features – it does have a larger 3220mAh battery, although it is not removal, and it does offer dual, front-facing stereo speakers, a wireless charging capability built-in, and can used the Motorola Turbo Charger to get up to a 6-8-hour charge after only 15-minutes.  Another big advantage is that the Nexus 6 will be running Android 5.0 Lollipop with all of its new features.  Another nice feature this time around is that the Nexus 6 will be available on all major carriers, and I’m sure that Google did this to allow it to be purchased on a two-year contract – substantially lessening the blow of the higher, $649 off-contract price.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung-Galaxy-S5-13The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes up a little short in the size department against the new Nexus 6…but the Galaxy S5 was never meant to be a phablet…that is what their Galaxy Note 4 is all about.  The Galaxy S5 is a well-built device, but lacks the metal frame and trim of the Nexus 6, and is unmistakably a Samsung device with its shape and legendary home button.  Critics and users were hoping for a little more ‘revolution’ in their new device and it received only minor updates.

The display is only 5.1-inches compared to the 6-inches packed in the Nexus 6 – that part is okay to deal with, as many were hoping that the Nexus 5 would be the same size, but the Galaxy S5 only has a Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and 432 PPI.  This is a great Super AMOLED display, but not quite up to the resolution of the Nexus 6.

When Samsung released the Galaxy S5, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, clocked at 2.5GHz, was tops in its arsenal, but still is behind the newer Snapdragon 805 used the Nexus 6 and Galaxy Note 4.  The Galaxy S5 only has 2GB of RAM versus 3GB found in the Nexus 6, as well as less built-in storage, although the Galaxy S5 does win out here with ability to expand the memory by 128GB via a microSD card slot.  The cameras stack up pretty close this year – 13MP for the Nexus 6 versus 16MP on the S5 and both have auto-focus, but the Nexus 6 has a dual-led flash ring to a single LED flash on the S5, and the Nexus 6 has OIS and the S5 does not.  Both use the same 2MP FFC for selfies or video chatting.

As far as other features – the Galaxy S5 uses a 2800mAh battery, versus the 3220mAh found in the Nexus 6.  The usual Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 (4.1 in Nexus 6), NFC and MicroUSB ports are found, although Samsung did include v3.0 versus the v2.0 in the Nexus 6.  The S5 is IP67 certified for dust and water resistance – better than the nano-coating found on the Nexus 6.  It also has a fingerprint scanner, IP Blaster and heart rate monitor.  It is running 4.4.3 KitKat, can be found on all major U.S. networks and will run you about $500 off-contract.

…And the Winner Is…

Nexus 6 phones


I had to go with the new Nexus 6 to win this comparison – and that is with factoring the size out of the Nexus 6.  The QHD display and the Snapdragon 805 processor, the extra 1GB of RAM, the dual, front-facing stereo speakers and the improved camera with the dual flash ring and OIS just out do the well-established Galaxy S5.  The Galaxy S5 may have more features with fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor, Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM), IR Blaster, etc., but the Nexus 6 with Android 5.0 Lollipop, the Turbo Charger, metal frame and wireless charging, simply outclass the Galaxy S5.

Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which of these devices you would pick as the winner and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.